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Monograph No. 15 




Principal of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, 
Overhniok, Pennsylvania 


American Foundation 






Principal of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, 
Overbrook, Pennsylvania 

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Systematic care of the defective classes began in America 
in iS 1 5, when a young theological student, Thomas Hop- 
kins Gallaudet, started for Europe to study methods of 
teaching the deaf and dumb. A school for this class was 
opened in 1817, one for the blind in 1831, and one for the 
feeble-minded in 1845 — practically fifteen years apart. In 
each case the first schools were in New England, the second 
in New York, the third in Pennsylvania ; and these schools 
followed one another quickly. All started in the face of 
more or less distrust as to their feasibility. At first all were 
experimental, being started through private initiative. A 
few pupils were taught and exhibited before the amazed 
public, when in the case of the deaf and the blind private 
funds in abundance were contributed and the schools quickly 
established as private corporations. In the case of the feeble- 
minded the first school to be incorporated was a public 
organization — that is, it was supported by the state. 
Before 1822 the state had not been educated to the point 
of supporting schools for the special classes, but by 1848 it 
was ready to see its duty towards even the idiotic, though 
wealthy people were by no means prepared to contribute 
directly to schools for them. 

The three states named having led the way, the move- 
ment spread quickly into Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and Illi- 
nois — in almost identical order for each special class. Here r 
however, the schools for the three classes arose as state insti- 
tutions. It had become an accepted part of public policy 
for the state to provide a means of education for all her 
children. The superintendents of the early schools for the 
deaf and dumb were generally clergymen ; those of the 
blind and the idiotic, generally physicians. The institutions 
were necessarily boarding schools ; and the early ones were 


established as a rule in or near the state capitals, chiefly 
that their achievements might be kept before the members 
of the legislatures, on whose practical sympathy the continu- 
ance of the schools usually depended. 

The large private or semi-public institutions are confined 
to the eastern states, where the movement began. Their 
support comes chiefly from private bequests and the interest 
on invested endowment funds. All, however, receive what 
is termed state aid, and all make annual report to the state 
legislatures, to the commissioners of public charities or of 
public education, as the case may be. All these institutions 
are governed by honorary boards of trustees or managers, 
who appoint the superintendent or principal. In the semi- 
public organization the managers form a self-appointing, 
close corporation ; in the public, they are appointed usually 
by the state governor, by whom they may also be removed. 

The semi-public institutions are usually well endowed. 
Their expenditures are, therefore, not limited by legislative 
grant ; and, moreover, these institutions are free from politi- 
cal interference, an interference which, in the case of several 
of the state organizations, has seriously affected from time 
to time the efficiency of the institutions themselves. As a 
rule, the institution plants are large and well equipped. 
Even when within the built-up cities the buildings are sur- 
rounded with ample lawns and playgrounds. The appro- 
priations of money are generous, whether the schools are 
public or semi-public. The earlier institutions were built 
on the congregate plan ; the later and those that have 
been rebuilt have generally adopted the segregate or cot- 
tage plan. 

The pupils are not committed to these institutions, but 
are admitted or rejected by the boards of trustees on the 
recommendation of the superintendents. 

The early institutions for all three classes of defectives 
began purely as schools. And all those existing to-day, 
except those for the feeble-minded, discharge or graduate 
all pupils after these have completed the course of instruc- 


tion. With the feeble-minded this plan was found to be 
inexpedient, for reasons which will be stated later. 

A very recent movement, started by the instructors of the 
deaf, is the affiliation of the educators of the defective 
classes with those of the national educational association. It 
is being more and more recognized that the line between a 
defective and a normal child cannot be drawn hard and fast, 
and that many a child who appears dull and stupid in school 
is in some measure defective. Hence, these special schools 
afford fields of most helpful suggestion to teachers of ordi- 
nary children. All persons intending to make teaching a 
vocation should become acquainted with these schools and 
their methods. 

It is interesting to note that systematic work for the deaf 
and dumb, the blind, and the feeble-minded began in France, 
and that to France America sent its early teachers to study 
methods and ascertain results. 


About the middle of the last century three schools for the 
deaf and dumb were opened in Europe, one in France, one 
in Germany, and one in Scotland. Though they sprang up 
at about the same time they were yet wholly independent in 
origin. In Paris the Abbe de l'Epee having observed two 
deaf-mute sisters conversing by means of gestures, seized 
upon the idea that in gesture language lay the secret of 
instructing the deaf and dumb. He therefore elaborated a 
system of gesture signs and made it the medium of instruc- 
tion in the school which he started. Heinicke in Dresden 
and Braidwood in Edinburg simply adopted articulate 
speech as the language of man and taught their pupils 
through it, requiring them to speak and read the lips of 
others. Thus arose the two important methods of deaf- 
mute instruction. 

Reports of the successes, chiefly in the British school, hav- 
ing reached America, several parents of deaf-mutes sent 
their children to Scotland to be educated. These deaf 


children returned no longer as mutes ; they were able to 
converse readily by speaking and lip reading. One of these 
parents was so delighted with his boy's schooling that he 
published a book in London and wrote articles for the New 
England periodicals, with the intention of arousing interest 
in the new work. This man also took steps to ascertain the 
number of deaf-mutes in Massachusetts. Another man in 
Virginia, some of whose relatives had attended Braidwood's 
school, even opened a little school for deaf and dumb pupils 
in his state, employing as its teacher one of the Braidwood 
family, who had come to America for the purpose of continu- 
ing in the profession of his family here. This was in 1812. 
The school was the first of its kind started in America. 
However, it was soon given up, as was a similar effort in 
New York, where a clergyman undertook to instruct several 
deaf children whom he found in an almshouse. 

Though the events above touched upon seemed to result in 
little, they yet had great effect in directing intelligent atten- 
tion to this field of work. They constitute its preliminary 

It happened in Hartford, Conn., that there was a physician, 
one of whose little daughters had become deaf. Why could 
not this child be educated as well as her hearing sisters ? 
With this thought he spent some eight years in agitating 
the question of starting a school for deaf children. In 181 5 
money enough was raised in a single day to defray the 
expenses of sending a teacher abroad to study methods. A 
young graduate of Yale college and of a theological semi- 
nary was chosen as the teacher to go. This was Thomas 
Hopkins Gallaudet, who was destined to become the founder 
of deaf-mute instruction in America. 

Of course he went to Great Britain. He proposed to 
study the only method that Americans knew about. But 
the doors of the British schools were closed to him. He 
found the science and art of teaching the deaf regarded as 
a business monopoly, whereas he had expected to find it 
conducted from his own motive of philanthropy. After 


wandering about there for nine months he gave up hope of 
acquiring the Braidwood method and accepted an invitation 
to study methods at the Paris school. At this school he 
spent the three remaining months of the year, a time far too 
short in which to acquire the special language of gesture 
signs. Hence, he induced a deaf-mute, who was teaching in 
the school, to accompany him to America. This man was 
the brilliant and accomplished Laurent Clerk, who became 
an engine of power for establishing schools for deaf-mutes 
in our country. Thus was the French method or the sign- 
language method brought to America. It was improved and 
further systematized by our early teachers and in this form 
was the basis of instruction in all our schools for half a 

During the absence of Dr. Gallaudet, influential men of 
Hartford had secured from the state legislature the incorpo- 
ration of the Connecticut asylum for the education and 
instruction of deaf and dumb persons. Upon his return he 
and Mr. Clerk traveled for eight months among prominent 
cities in behalf of the cause of the deaf. The exhibition of 
Laurent Clerk alone helped the cause as nothing else could 
have done. On April 15, 181 7, school work began at Hart- 
ford with seven pupils. During the year 33 pupils came. 
This was the first permanent school in the country. While 
in other countries similar schools had no reliable basis of 
support, the founders of our schools immediately established 
theirs on a permanent basis. Private aid was necessary at 
first, but no sooner had the feasibility of the work been 
shown than public moneys were granted. 

In this year the Connecticut asylum changed its name to 
the American asylum at Hartford for the education and 
instruction of the deaf and dumb ; for it was then supposed 
that one school could accommodate for many years all the 
pupils of the country who would attend school. But interest 
in the schooling of deaf-mutes had been aroused in other 
places. In 18 18 a school was opened in New York under a 
teacher from Hartford; and in Philadelphia, where Dr. Gal- 


laudet and Mr. Clerk had gone to obtain aid for the Hart- 
ford school, an humble storekeeper by the name of Seixas 
began to teach, in 1819, a little class of deaf pupils, and he 
was so successful that an institution was organized in 1820 
with Seixas as first teacher and principal. In a very few 
months he was succeeded by a permanent principal from 
Hartford. Back in 18 19 Massachusetts had provided an 
appropriation for the education of 20 indigent pupils at 
Hartford, and in 1825 New Hampshire and Vermont adopted 
the same policy. " Other states soon followed this good 
example. Thus, through the efforts of the founders of this 
[the Hartford] school, the humane, just and wise policy of 
educating deaf-mutes at the public expense was firmly estab- 
lished in this country, and has been adopted by almost every 
state in the union. In some of the western states means 
for the education of deaf-mutes are secured by constitutional 
provision. This has put the schools for deaf-mutes in the 
United States on a better basis, financially, than those in 
any other part of the world." 1 

Only two years after the founding of the Pennsylvania 
school, Kentucky followed with its institution, being the 
first to be supported by a state. The act establishing it 
limited the pupils at any one time to 25, and their term of 
instruction to three years. In fact limits of this kind are 
usually prescribed in all the early institutions. (The Illinois 
school now has 612 pupils, and the New York schools allow 
a term of 17 years.) The first principal of the Kentucky 
school went to Hartford for a year to study methods. Ohio 
and Virginia soon followed in the good work. Both received 
their first superintendents from Hartford. Thereafter insti- 
tutions sprang up rapidly in the south and west, taking their 
early superintendents or teachers either from the parent 
school at Hartford or from one or another of the older 

In 1857 there was incorporated by the national congress 
the Columbia institution at Washington, D. C, which requires 

1 Histories American schools for the Deaf. — American asylum, i: 13. 


special mention. Though originally intended as a school 
where the deaf children of government beneficiaries could 
be educated, circumstances of which not the least influential 
was the energy of its principal, Dr. Edward M. Gallaudet, 
son of the pioneer, soon brought about a change enabling 
the institution to confer collegiate degrees. The institution 
was then divided into two departments, the advanced depart- 
ment taking the name of the National deaf-mute college. 
Thus, in 1864, America had taken a step "unprecedented 
in the history of deaf-mute instruction." 

Most of the deaf and dumb are either born deaf or 
become so before acquiring language. They are dumb 
because they are deaf, and without special instruction can 
never know any but a gestural language. The pioneer edu- 
cators of the deaf in this country were all " broad-minded 
men of liberal education," and they set a high standard at 
the outset for the work. A language of signs they saw 
was the key to the instruction of their pupils, who, indeed, 
were allowed so few years of schooling, that no time was to 
be lost in laboring over the extraordinary difficulties of 
teaching them speech. Moreover, these teachers saw with 
great satisfaction the development of their pupils through 
the language of signs. 

This language is ideographic — " being readily expressive 
of ideas and emotions," rather than of phraseology. Put 
into words their order is entirely different from the natural 
order, thus, " Let it be supposed that a girl has been seen by 
a deaf-mute child to drop a cup of milk which she was carry- 
ing home. He would relate the incident in the following 
order of sign words : Saw-I-girl-walk-cup-milk-carry-home- 
drop." 1 The late superintendent of the Illinois institution, 
Dr. Gillett, writes : " When reduced to a system they [signs] 
form a convenient means of conveying to one mind the ideas 
conceived by another, though not clothed in the language 
in which a cultured mind expresses them. One addressed 
in the sign language receives the idea and translates it into 

'Encyclop. Brit, (gth ed.) Am. reprint — Art. Deaf and dumb. 


English without any intimation of the phraseology in the 
mind of the speaker, so that a dozen persons familiar with 
the sign language, observing the gesticulations of a speaker, 
would each translate correctly the thoughts given forth, but 
no two of them would be in exactly the same phraseology. 
It is a concrete language, in which the expression of abstract 
ideas is exceedingly difficult." * As the ideas are given out 
chiefly by means of hand gestures, schools using the sign 
language as a means of instruction are said to follow or use 
the manual method. 2 

Among the manually-taught deaf this language early 
becomes the vernacular. As it is a language of living pictures, 
such deaf people think in pictures and dream in them. The 
sign language is said to be to the deaf what spoken language 
is to the hearing ; and yet its use in the school room is deemed 
by many teachers extremely detrimental to the acquisition 
of the English language, and, therefore, unwise. 

All our educators of the deaf agree that giving to their 
pupils the ability to use the English language is their chief 
end and aim. They differ widely, however, over the use of 
signs. The greater number believe a moderate use of them 
to be economical of time and extremely useful to the deaf 
in the acquisition of knowledge. There is a small but grow- 
ing number who dispense with signs in toto just as soon 
as possible. These latter teach by the intuitive, direct or 
" English language method." They teach English by and 
through English, spoken, read and written. 

It is extraordinarily difficult to get started by the oral 
or English language method. But teachers of this method 
claim that once well started their pupils advance more 

1 Gillett. Some notable benefactors of the deaf. Pp. 14-15. 

2 The simple sign for cat well illustrates the graphic nature of the language. In 
order to teach this sign, a sign teacher "would show the child a cat, if possible, 
or a picture of a cat, which would be recognized by the child. The next step 
would be to direct attention to the cat's whiskers, drawing the thumb and finger 
of each hand lightly over them. A similar motion with the thumb and finger of 
each hand above the teacher's upper lip at once becomes the sign for cat. The 
instructed deaf child will be expected to recall the object, cat, on seeing this con- 
ventional sign." Gordon. The difference between the two systems of teaching 
deaf-mute children the English language. Pp. 1-2. 


logically, more surely, more precisely, and finally more 
swiftly than the pupils of those permitting the intervention 
of signs. Advocates of using the signs together with other 
means claim that the minds of most of their new pupils are 
sluggish from want of language to think in, and that they 
need to be aroused by the quickest method ; that their 
pupils have already lost too many years of youth, and that 
to cause them to lose more because of a theory is wrong 
and wicked. This school asserts that " A large percentage 
of the deaf under proper methods can obtain a very use- 
ful amount of speech and lip-reading, but [that] there is also 
a large percentage of them that would be greatly restricted 
in their mental development, if allowed no other means of 
instruction," and continues : 

" We are striving to take the golden mean, placing first in 
importance mental development and a knowledge of written 
language, and adding thereto in the case of every child 
speech and lip-reading to the degree that his capacity and 
adaptability allow him to acquire them." 1 

And again, " For rapid and clear explanation, for testing 
the comprehension of the pupil, for lectures and religious 
instruction before large numbers of pupils, there is no other 
means equal in efficiency to the sign language. Its proper 
and conservative use always tends to mental development, 
saves time, and is the most efficient aid known in the acqui- 
sition of written and spoken language." 2 

The other school affirms that the two methods or systems 
are mutually exclusive, saying : " Of course no pupil can 
be taught under the intuitive and the sign method at the 
same time, and it is impossible to combine into one system 
a method which is dependent upon the ' sign ' language at 
every stage of instruction with a method which dispenses 
absolutely with the ' sign ' language at every stage in teach- 
ing the English language. In the 'sign-language' method 
instructors aim to teach the vernacular language through 

1 Third Biennial Report American school, p. 12. 

2 First Biennial Report American asylum, p. 17. 


the intervention of signs, but their deaf-mute pupils acquire 
a mixture of natural signs, pantomime, conventional signs 
and finger spelling which becomes the habitual vehicle of 
thought and expression, wherever it is possible to use a 
gestural language, to the exclusion of the English language. 
The intuitive method dispenses entirely with the crutch of 
the 'sign-language' in the mastery of English." 1 

A form of the English language method, taught at the 
Rochester (N. Y.) institution, substitutes finger spelling for 
signs as these are used in manual schools, and is called the 
"manual alphabet method." Superintendent Westervelt 
says of it, " It is the principle of our method of instruction 
that the child has a right to receive instruction through that 
form of our language which he can understand most readily, 
with the least strain of attention, and the least diversion 
from the thought to the organ of its expression." 2 

So much for the rival methods, which, however, it is 
absolutely necessary to understand if we would compre- 
hend the history of deaf-mute education in America. 

The history of the rise of the oral method is interesting. 
As has been said, the manual method reigned supreme for 
the first fifty years of the work. In 1843, Horace Mann, sec- 
retary of the Massachusetts state board of education, and Dr. 
Howe, director of the Perkins institution for the blind in 
Boston, made a tour of Europe. In his next annual report 
Horace Mann praised the oral method as taught in Ger- 
many, stating that it was superior to the method employed 
in America. The report was widely read, and caused no 
little commotion among our teachers of the deaf, several of 
whom went abroad to see for themselves. These gentlemen 
did not agree with Horace Mann, and little change was then 
made in American methods. Still as a result of their recom- 
mendations, classes in articulation were introduced into sev- 
eral schools. Later, in 1864, the father of a little deaf girl 
in Massachusetts began to agitate for the incorporation of an 

'Gordon. The Difference between the two systems of teaching, etc., p. 3. 
5 Histories of American schools for the deaf, West. New York inst., 2: II. 


oral school in that state. A small private school of the kind 
was soon opened near Boston. In the nick of time — for the 
opponents of opening an oral school were active — a Mr. 
Clarke of Northampton offered to endow a school for the deaf 
in Massachusetts. The project being favored by the governor 
of the commonwealth, and by Dr. Howe, who was then sec- 
retary of the state board of charities, the legislature incor- 
porated in 1867 the Clarke institution at Northampton, which 
was opened as an oral school. In the same year a former 
teacher of an Austrian school opened in New York what 
soon became the New York institution for the improved 
instruction of deaf-mutes. 

This invasion of the field so long occupied by the silent 
method of signs occasioned much controversy. Dr. Edward 
M. Gallaudet, president of the Columbia institution, at once 
went abroad to examine schools and their methods. Upon 
his return he reported that if the whole body of the deaf 
were to be restricted to one kind of instruction, he favored 
results to be obtained by the manual methods of America ; 
but he maintained " the practicability of teaching a large 
proportion of the deaf to speak and to read from the lips," 1 
and advocated the introduction of articulation into all the 
schools of the country. As a result a conference of princi- 
pals of American institutions met at Washington, which 
adopted resolutions in the line of President Gallaudet's 
recommendations. Classes in articulation were then very 
generally introduced. 

During the next few years a gradual movement abroad 
towards the abolition of signs was evident ; and at the sec- 
ond international conference at Milan, in 1880, an over- 
whelming majority of the delegates present voted in favor 
of the oral method. Even the French delegates were found 
to have abandoned the method that originated with them in 
favor of the oral method. At the various conventions of 
the American instructors of the deaf, more and more atten- 

1 Quoted in Gordon's notes and observations upon the education of the deaf, 
p. xxix. 


tion came to be paid to the question of methods. Then, 
conventions of articulation teachers were held. In the 
meantime Dr. Alexander Graham Bell had introduced to 
teachers his father's system of visible speech, a system of 
written characters devised to show the position taken and the 
movement made by the tongue, teeth, lips, glottis, and other 
vocal organs in articulation. A similar but simpler system 
of visible speech symbols had been independently worked 
out by a Mr. Zera Whipple, of Mystic, Connecticut ; and 
more recently the Lyon phonetic manual has been devised, 
which is founded on the principle of visible speech and may 
be written in the air by the fingers. In 1888 the royal com- 
mission of the United Kingdom voted "that every child who 
is deaf should have full opportunity of being educated on 
the pure oral system," but that those found physically or 
mentally disqualified " should be either removed from the 
oral department of the school or taught elsewhere on the 
sign and manual system." 1 In 1890 the American associa- 
tion to promote the teaching of speech to the deaf was incor- 
porated, with Dr. Alexander Graham Bell as president. Dr. 
Bell immediately endowed the association handsomely. 

Ever since Horace Mann stirred up the waters in 1843,. 
they have remained in more or less agitation. And this 
fact has had a grand effect upon the work. It cannot be 
denied that at times the controversy over methods has been 
bitter ; to-day, however, it has been reduced to a generous 
rivalry, in which the champions of the various methods and 
systems are striving with might and main to find out the 
best means of instructing the deaf and to pursue it. The 
majority of our schools do not limit their teaching to any 
one method, but are eclectic, calling themselves " combined 
system " schools. Satisfaction with the original uniformity 
of method would not have meant progress ; and certainly 
the work for the deaf in this land of opportunity has pro- 
gressed remarkably. No other country has so many deaf 
pupils under instruction as this has, none has provided so 
'£ 7. 

1 Quoted in Gordon's notes and observations, p. xlii. 


generously for them, and there is none in which their edu- 
cators are more alert to test new inventions and appliances 
that may bear upon the methods of instruction. And yet, 
unquestionably, the education of the deaf is still in its 

The early principals saw the need of exchanging ideas, 
and soon after the beginning of the work started an organ 
of communication. This organ, " The Annals of the deaf," 
is now in its 44th volume. It is a quarterly magazine, 1 
conducted under the direction of a committee of the confer- 
ence of superintendents and principals of American schools 
for the deaf. It is a high-class, much-prized periodical, and 
is said to be the leading publication of its kind in the world. 
In the pages of the Annals have been published articles on 
all manner of questions relating to the deaf. Its editor, Dr. 
Edward A. Fay, has made a most thorough investigation 
into the results of marriages of the deaf. His data and con- 
clusions have appeared in a volume published by the Volta 

The Voka bureau is a unique institution. The Volta 
prize of 25,000 francs awarded by the French government to 
Dr. Bell for his invention of the telephone, he applied to 
the founding of a bureau for the purpose of collecting and 
diffusing knowledge concerning the deaf. This is the Volta 
bureau of Washington, D. C. It has already published a 
large number of papers, studies, and books. 

The influence of Dr. Bell upon the work for the deaf has 
been deep and lasting. The invention of the telephone 
itself resulted from his experiments upon a device which he 
hoped would enable the deaf to read the vibrations of the 
human voice. Though a Scotchman by birth, he is practi- 
cally an American, and has devoted his best energies and 
his means to furthering the work which he has made his 
profession. His great efforts have been towards the promo- 
tion of speech-teaching to the deaf. 

" The instruction of the deaf is one of the most difficult 

1 It now appears six times a year. 


fields in the entire department of education for achievement 
at once successful and satisfactory to the teacher." * For 
many years the parent school at Hartford was parent in the 
sense of providing principals and teachers for other schools. 
The New York institution has also furnished schools with 
many officers and teachers. It is only within comparatively 
recent years that normal classes, as such, have come to exist 
in a few of the schools. Among others, the Clarke institu- 
tion, the Wisconsin phonological institute, the school at 
Bala, Pa., and Gallaudet college have them — the latter 
announcing that it has opened to a limited number of col- 
lege graduates annually, normal fellowships of $500, tenable 
for one year. Thus has the standard of deaf-mute teaching 
come to be in line with modern university methods of train- 
ing teachers. 

Public day schools for the deaf have sprung up in vari- 
ous places. The Horace Mann school of Boston is a nota- 
ble example. They fill an unquestioned need, as many 
parents refuse to send their deaf children off to an institu- 
tion. A still further movement towards decentralization 
has come to pass in Wisconsin. Wherever in this state a 
few deaf children can be gathered near their homes, state 
aid will be given to pay teachers sent there to teach them. 
And this movement is tending to become more and more 
general. All these day schools spread the oral method. 
An important effect of the rise of this method has been the 
lowering of the age when deaf children are received, and of 
lengthening their term of instruction ; also of largely increas- 
ing the number of women teachers employed. The Home 
for the training in speech of little deaf children before they 
are of school age, at Bala, takes children at the age when 
normal children learn to talk and teaches speech by talking 
to them and having them talk back as if they heard. There 
are several private oral schools for the deaf in this country 
where the pupils pay tuition. One of the best is the Wright- 
Humason school in New York. 

1 Gillett. Some notable benefactors of the deaf, p. 3. 


With the lowering of the age of pupils, kindergarten 
methods have been made use of more and more ; though no 
true kindergarten can be conducted in schools where lan- 
guage comes so hard and so late, where even natural signs 
are arbitrarily interdicted, and where there can be no music. 
But the occupations and the games are widely applicable 
and are now universally used. 

From the above discussion it is seen that the deaf child 
comes to school with almost no language to think in, his 
only means of expressing his wants being crude natural signs. 
Such being the case, the first duty of the teacher is to estab- 
lish communication with him and thereafter, during his whole 
course at school, more than in any other kind of educational 
work, to make language the end of training and other sub- 
jects the means of varying language teaching. This state- 
ment is strictly true only of elementary education, but then 
the majority of deaf pupils do not advance far beyond the 
elementary stage ; not because they cannot, for they can, 
but because so very much time is absorbed in language work 
that their progress in other things is slow ; then, too, parents 
are prone to call their boys away from school as soon as 
they believe these can help sustain the family. A few of 
the brighter and more ambitious pupils from the schools 
take the course at the National deaf-mute college, now called 
Gallaudet college, where they have "an opportunity to 
secure the advantages of a rigid and thorough course 
intellectual training in the higher walks of literature and the 
liberal arts." Occasionally we hear of deaf pupils taking 
high school work in schools with hearing pupils, and eveij 
of being graduated from colleges of the hearing. 

The course of training at American schools for the deaf 
has always been practical. Indeed, industrial training [3 
almost essential for those young people who would form 
industrious habits and facility in the use of r >ls tha* will 
put them on their feet when they enter the world I labor; 
for most deaf pupils will have to work lor their living. 
Their educators have a magnificent incentive in the knowl- 


edge that the trained deaf are not at all disqualified from 
earning a living by simple inability to hear. In their schools 
general manual training is followed with a pupil until, for 
one reason or another, he chooses his trade or it is chosen 
for him. The general equipment for trade teaching is excel- 
lent. Printing is an extremely useful occupation for the 
deaf, especially in the acquisition of idiomatic language ; and 
nearly every institution for their instruction publishes one 
or more papers. 

Our educated deaf people form a quiet, well-behaved, self- 
supporting part of the community. They have formed 
local and national societies for mutual benefit. The conven- 
tion of the deaf that met in 1893 at the Columbian exposi- 
tion at Chicago was the largest meeting of the kind ever 
held. Their speeches and deliberations and social gather- 
ings occupied several days. That a convention so great and 
so remarkable could have been held was a source of great 
pride and satisfaction to those engaged in educating the 

Within the grounds of Gallaudet college at Washington 
stands a beautiful memorial statue of Gallaudet teaching a 
little deaf and dumb girl. It was presented to the college 
by the deaf of the whole country. In this memorial the 
deaf have made fitting recognition of their indebtedness to 


When it is stated that prior to 1830 the blind of America 
were to be found " moping in hidden corners or degraded 

7 the wayside, or vegetating in almshouses," it is the adult 
blind that is meant. Still blind children were occasionally 
.found in these places, though it could scarcely be said that 
they were vegetating, as could be said of the untrained deaf 
children. Their ability to hear and speak does not cut off 
the blind from the education of communion with friends and 
associates, """he needs of the blind, then, were not so evi- 
dent 01 so eany forced upon people's attention as were those 
of the deaf and dumb children. Blind children were less 


often seen than deaf children, for the simple reason that 
there were and always are fewer of them. This fact was 
not then realized. The British census of 1851 first showed 
the world that over 80 per cent of the blind are adults. Our 
schools for the blind were started, first, because of the wide- 
spread interest in the results of educating the young deaf 
and dumb, which furnished inspiration for new fields of 
educational endeavor ; secondly, because the country was 
coming to the conviction that all the children of the state 
should receive education both as a matter of public policy 
and as a private right ; and thirdly, because reports of what 
had been accomplished abroad in schools for the blind were 
being promulgated in our land. 

By 1830 the more progressive states of the east were 
ready to give their blind children school training. In that 
year the government first included in the national census 
the deaf and dumb and the blind. The work of the blind 
was to begin with scientific foreknowledge as to their 

Private ardor to begin the work had been smouldering 
for several years, when in 1829 certain gentlemen in Boston 
obtained the incorporation of the " New England asylum 
for the blind." This was before they had selected either 
the pupils or a teacher for them. By a most fortunate cir- 
cumstance, the interest and services were obtained of a 
graduate of Brown university, Dr. Samuel G. Howe, who 
after finishing his medical studies had chivalrously gone to 
the aid of the Greeks. This gentleman became the Amer- 
ican father and Cadmus of the blind. He went at once to 
Europe to study methods of instruction. Upon his return, 
in 1832, the school was opened with six pupils. In New 
York the act of incorporation of the New York institution 
for the blind was passed in 1831 ; but funds were needed 
and no one went abroad to study methods. This school 
opened in March, 1832, antedating by a few months the 
school at Boston. In the very same year a German teacher 
of the blind, a Mr. Friedlander, most opportunely came to 


Philadelphia, in the hope of starting a school for the blind 
there. The way the enterprise was put through is typical 
of many other beginnings of special schools in America. 
Having trained certain blind children he exhibited their 
accomplishments, first, to a few influential people, secondly, 
before a large audience among whom he distributed a leaf- 
let, " Observations on the instruction of blind persons." A 
meeting of public-spirited citizens followed, funds were lib- 
erally contributed, fairs held, and the success of the cause 
was assured. The Pennsylvania institution for the instruc- 
tion of the blind was opened in 1833, fully ten months 
before an act of incorporation was obtained. 

The three schools at Boston, New York and Philadelphia 
are called the pioneer schools. All sprang from private 
effort and private funds. All were incorporated as private 
institutions, and remain so to this day. Two similar insti- 
tutions for the blind have arisen in this country, that at 
Baltimore and that at Pittsburg. 

The origin of the state schools differs from that of the 
type above given only in that classes of trained pupils from 
the earlier schools were exhibited before the state legisla- 
tures, as well as before the people. State appropriations 
followed and the institutions were inaugurated as state insti- 
tutions. The new schools sprang into being with astonish- 
ing rapidity. There are now in 1899 40 schools for the 
blind in the United States, and every state in the union 
makes provision for its blind of school age either in its own 
school or in that of a neighboring state. 

In our sparsely-settled country, especially west of the 
Alleghenies and south of Maryland, great efforts had to be 
made to find the children and still greater efforts to persuade 
the parents to send them to school ; and in many regions 
similar conditions of parental ignorance exist to-day. In 
certain states where the amount of the public fund seemed 
to preclude a special grant for the blind, pupils of this class 
were brought together in connection with a school for the 
deaf and dumb, forming " dual schools," as they are called. 


These institutions could not help being unfair to their blind 
contingent ; for in nearly every such case the blind came to 
a school already established as a school for the deaf, and 
under the superintendence of a man especially interested 
in the education of the deaf ; moreover, the number of the 
deaf pupils usually far exceeded that of the blind. There 
are still a few of these dual schools, but wherever possible 
they have been divided into two distinct institutions. 

In northern schools the colored blind are educated with 
the white ; in southern schools it is best for the colored to 
have schools of their own. Both the whites and they prefer 
this arrangement. The first school for the colored blind 
was opened in North Carolina in 1869. 

All the institutions for the blind were in their very incep- 
tion schools. The pioneer schools imported literary teach- 
ers from Paris and handicraft teachers from Edinburg. At 
first only the brighter class of pupils came under instruc- 
tion. Teaching them was easy. They progressed with, 
amazing - strides ; all was enthusiasm ; exhibitions were called 
for and widely given (Dr. Howe's pupils gave exhibitions in 
1 7 states) ; large editions of the various annual reports were 
exhausted. Soon, however, less bright pupils came to be 
admitted ; then the curriculum of studies began to sober 
down to the practical and comprehensive one prevailing 
to-day. Whatever occupation the boy or girl expects to 
follow after leaving school, it is assumed he will follow it 
better and thus live more happily and worthily if he has a 
general education. When, as was formerly the case, the 
period or term of schooling allowed pupils was shorter than 
it is now, they were not admitted before the age of eight or 
nine. Now that kindergarten departments have been uni- 
versally added to the schools, the pupils are urged to enter 
at an early age ; because experience has shown that at home 
these little blind folks are coddled rather than trained, so 
much so in fact that by the time many of them come to 
school their natural growth of body and mind has been so 
interfered with by inaction, that all the efforts of the schools 


cannot make up for lost time and opportunity. The prin- 
ciple of periodicity of growth has now come to be under- 
stood and the importance of applying the proper stimulus 
at the period most sensitive to it, comprehended. Children 
with good sight and hearing have got along without kinder- 
garten training, and so have blind children,, but of all the 
useful means of reaching and developing the average blind 
child none is so effective as the properly-conducted kinder- 
garten. It is not easy to overestimate the importance of 
hearing as giving the child language and all that this means, 
song and the joy it brings and the deep feeling it inspires. 
The practical knowledge of things comes to the blind 
through the hand, their fingers being veritable projections 
of their brains. Thus must their hands not only be trained 
to sensitiveness of touch but to be strong and supple, so that 
they may, indeed, be dexterous ; for as their hands are so 
are their brains. The kindergarten cultivates ear and heart 
and hand and brain as nothing else does. Even color is not 
wholly omitted in kindergartens for the blind. Many see 
colors, and those who do not love to talk about them and 
certainly derive some indirect value from considering them. 
Kindergartens for the blind may be true kindergartens in 
every sense of the word. A kindergartner of fully-sensed 
children would miss here only the brightness coming from 
the untrammeled ability to run and play and observe all that 
sight brings into view, the quick response of " I know," " I 
have seen this," and " I have been there." But, then, kin- 
dergartens for the blind have as their end and aim this very 
arousing of the children and the putting of them in touch 
with their surroundings. 

Blind children with kindergarten training are more sus- 
ceptible to instruction than those without it. Above this 
department the course of studies in American schools 
requires from seven to eight years, which means a primary, 
a grammar and a high school education, or instruction in 
object lessons, reading, writing, spelling, grammar, compo- 
sition, arithmetic, history, physiology, botany, zoology, geol- 


ogy, physics, algebra, geometry, civics, English literature, 
typewriting and sometimes Latin and modern languages. 
Not a few pupils have fitted for college where they took the 
regular course with the seeing students, and from which they 
were graduated usually with distinction. Formerly much of 
the teaching was oral, which, in many cases, was apt to be 
more pleasant than profitable to the pupil. Since the gen- 
eral introduction of the embossed text book and tangible 
writing, the pupil has been forced to depend more and more 
upon himself, obviously with better results. In fact, the 
work has been growing more and more practical. The 
methods of teaching the blind correspond in general to those 
of teaching other hearing children. The common appliances 
have but to be raised and enlarged as in maps and diagrams, 
or simply made tangible, which may be done, for example, 
by notching an ordinary ruler so that the graduations can be 
felt. A successful teacher of the seeing readily adapts her- 
self to the instruction of the blind. She learns to write 
their punctographic systems and to read them with the eye. 
Industrial training has been an integral part of the school 
course from the beginning. Recently educational manual 
training has been generally introduced as preliminary to 
the trades. Sloyd has been found especially adapted to 
the blind. The handicrafts — chair-caning, hammock-mak- 
ing, broom-making, carpet-weaving, and a few others, alone 
remain of all the many trades taught at one time or another 
in our schools. Manual occupations of some kind will 
always be taught, even were it evident that none of them 
would be followed by the blind as trades ; for it is by doing 
and making that the blind especially learn best. Then, it is 
essential that they be kept occupied. They are happier so 
and far better off. In the past, before the introduction of 
such varieties of labor-saving machinery as the last half 
century has seen, many of the discharged pupils followed 
some manual trade and succeeded in subsisting by it. To- 
day this is less and less possible. The mind itself of the 
blind is least trammeled by the lack of sight ; hence some 


pursuit where intelligence is the chief factor would seem to 
be best adapted to his condition. 

Music, of course, opens up his most delightful field. It 
is said that all the force of the superintendents of the early 
schools was required to prevent the institutions from becom- 
ing mere conservatories of music. To-day only those pupils 
pursue music in regular course who have talent for it ; but 
even those are not allowed to neglect other studies for it. 
It is the experience of the American schools as of the 
European, that the profession of music offers to the edu- 
cated and trained musician who is blind, a field in which he 
can work his way with least hindrance from his lack of sight, 
and many are they who have found in it a means of liveli- 
hood for themselves and their families. A few in nearly 
every school fit themselves to be tuners of pianos. 

The importance of physical training was early recognized ; 
for the blind have less vitality and more feeble constitutions 
than the seeing ; besides, those of our pupils who most need 
exercise, are least apt to seek it of their own accord. At 
first the schools had no gymnasiums ; of late years such 
have been pretty generally added, and systematic physical 
exercise is carried out. 

The American schools for the blind were founded upon 
embossed books. Dr. Howe states somewhere that the sim- 
ple reading from embossed print did more to establish the 
schools in the country than any other one thing. Extraor- 
dinary pains were" taken by Dr. Howe and his assistants to 
perfect a system which should be at once readily tangible to 
the fingers of the blind and legible to the eyes of their 
friends. The result was the small lower case letter of Dr. 
Howe, the Boston line print, as it is often called. To this 
the jury gave preference before all other embossed systems 
exhibited at the great exhibition of the industry of all 
nations, in London, in 1852. Backed by such indorsement 
and all the authority of Dr. Howe the system was rapidly 
adopted into the American schools. It was then the theory 
that the blind would be further isolated from their friends 


if their alphabets were dissimilar. The blind of themselves 
had devised a writable system — arbitrary and composed of 
dots or points — one which they could both read and write. 
But the early superintendents would not countenance it. 
However, many of the blind failed to read the line letter 
system ; because to read it requires extreme nicety of touch, 
which all the blind by no means have. Characters composed 
of points not of lines are scientifically adapted to touch read- 
ing. In the 33rd report of the New York institution, Supt. 
Wm. B. Wait wrote : " Now, which is the more important, 
that all the young blind should be able to read, thus being 
made, in fact, like the seeing, or that they should be taught 
an alphabet which in some sort resembles that used by the see- 
ing, but by doing which only 34 percent of them will ever be 
able to read with any pleasure or profit ?" This attitude of 
the New York school was the outcome of statistics gathered 
from seven institutions, in which 664 pupils were involved, 
and of experiments made by Mr. Wait with his own pupils, 
using a system scientifically devised by him, composed of 
points in arbitrary combination. This was in 1868. At 
the next convention of the American instructors of the 
blind, it was resolved "That the New York horizontal 
point alphabet as arranged by Mr. Wait, should be taught 
in all institutions for the education of the blind." Not long 
afterwards a national printing house was subsidized, from 
which the schools obtained free books, both in the point 
and in the line systems. In a very few years the point 
books were in increasing demand, and to-day most of the 
schools prefer them to those in the line print. 

The acceptance of the point was due to several things, — 
first of all, to its writability and superior tangibility, and 
secondly, to the extraordinary energy of a few of its advo- 
cates. The old world was a long time accepting a writable 
point system. That of Louis Braille, devised in 1829, 
though much used by individuals, was not officially adopted 
into the Paris school where it originated until 1854. In 
contrast, America devised, printed, spread, and resolved to 


accept its writable system in less than one-half the time. 
The benefits of a tangible writable system are vast. It 
puts the blind more nearly on a par with the seeing, particu- 
larly as pupils in school. Its adoption here, next to that of 
tangible printing, makes obtainable the ideal of American 
schools for the blind. 

Every tangible system has its defects. French " braille " 
as adopted into England has antiquated abbreviations and 
contractions for the use of adults ; and is involved with rules 
allowing much bad use, like the omission of all capitals. 
The New York point as printed also laid itself open to much 
criticism as to "good use." The American braille, the latest 
system, combining the best features of French braille and of 
New York point, was devised by a blind teacher of the Per- 
kins institution. It takes full account of " good use," and 
those who use the system deem it very satisfactory. In 1892, 
when the American braille system was adopted into several 
schools, a typewriter for writing braille was invented, and this 
was followed by the invention of another machine for embos- 
sing braille directly on plates of thin brass from which any 
number of duplicates could be struck off on paper. 1 Here 
was a means of creating a new library at once. But the chief 
value of the invention lay in the fact that as the machine 
was simple and inexpensive and could be operated if neces- 
sary by a blind man, any institution could have a printing 
office of its own. And several schools immediately estab- 
lished such offices, from which they issued at once whatever 
their school classes demanded. By co-operating in the 
selection of the books to be embossed these schools have cre- 
ated in the space of seven years a library of books in Ameri- 
can braille than which there is no superior in any system in 
any country, and they have added an immense amount of 
music in the braille music notation, which is the same all over 
the world. A typewriter, and a machine for embossing brass 
plates in the New York point system, have also appeared. 

1 For these inventions, which have been of the greatest recent service to the 
education of the blind, the work is indebted to Mr. Frank H. Hall, sup't of the 
Illinois school. 


The production of books in both point systems is going on 
parallelly. Whether this is wise or not it is certainly waste- 
ful. And yet the antagonism of the advocates of the rival 
systems is so great that the race may continue for some 
years yet. The matter is, however, not so " stupid " as it 
would seem to be. There is nothing like competition to 
eliminate defects and bring out excellences. Moreover, 
there has been evolution in systems of ink print as there 
has been in systems of embossed print. In either case that 
which eventually survives will be the fittest and will be worth 
all the trouble it caused to make it survive. 

Excellent embossed libraries exist in all three of the sys- 
tems. Books in all three may be obtained from the National 
printing house for the blind at Louisville, Ky., where many 
of the plates have been made and where most of them are 
kept. This printing house was subsidized by congress in 
1873, and since that time has spent $10,000 annually in the 
production of books in the various systems, music scores in 
the New York point notation, and tangible apparatus, each 
school ordering from the published list, books, etc., to the 
value of its quota or part proportional to the number of its 
pupils. The printing office of the Perkins institution at 
Boston is the largest private enterprise of its kind in the 
world. It has been running almost continuously since 1834, 
and has put forth a splendid list of books in the Boston line 

American generosity to its defectives has not only pro- 
vided institutions unsurpassed in their general appointments 
elsewhere, but the proverbial American ingenuity has sup- 
plied the classrooms with appliances and mechanical aids to 
instruction unequaled in any land. The interest in the 
work for the blind taken by those actually engaged in it may 
be seen by a reading of the annual reports of the superin- 
tendents, which have served as a means of communication 
among the schools and between these and the public. 
France, Germany and Italy have been publishing for many 
years, magazines or periodicals in the interest of the blind. 


For four years this country produced " The Mentor," a 
monthly which was so excellent and timely that it ought to 
have been kept up. However, it was supported but poorly 
and was stopped for that reason. America, then, has no 
organ of communication among workers for the blind. The 
superintendents and teachers engaged in this work first met 
in convention in 1853. The Association of American 
instructors of the blind was formed in 1871, and has met 
biennially ever since, usually as the guest of one or another 
of the institutions. The proceedings of each convention 
have been published. 

The principles underlying the scheme for educating the 
blind being to make them as little as possible a class apart 
from the rest of the community, it has not been deemed wise 
to attempt to establish a national college for the higher edu- 
cation of those capable of taking it, but efforts are making 
towards enabling the brighter and worthier pupils to attend 
one of the colleges for the seeing, at the expense of the 
states or the schools from which they come. The school 
instruction of the blind is comparatively an easy matter. 
The work is less of a science than the more difficult task of 
instructing the deaf and dumb. But if we consider the 
results, it must be admitted that it is far easier to fit the 
intelligent deaf to be self-supporting than it is to fit the 
blind to be so. The world of practical affairs is the world 
of light ; and if the blind succeed in that world it is cer- 
tainly to their credit. And yet we expect them to succeed 
in it ; and having given them the best preparation we can 
devise, we find that many do succeed, some brilliantly. Just 
what proportion "succeed" is not known; for in the vast 
areas of our large states the majority go out and are lost to 
view. Many — especially the girls — go home to become 
helpful in the family, and these live on there as centers of 
light and culture, and so what was once deemed a calamity, 
may become to the family a blessing in disguise. 

In 1878 an exhaustive census of the graduates from all 
over the country was compiled. It revealed the following - 


encouraging facts : 16 became superintendents of other insti- 
tutions ; 214 became teachers or were otherwise employed 
in institutions ; 34 became ministers of the gospel ; 84 
authors, publishers or lecturers 1310 were engaged as teachers 
of music or were vocalists outside of institutions ; 69 had been 
organists in churches; 125 piano tuners; 937 had been 
engaged as teachers, employees, and workers in handicraft ; 
277 were storekeepers, etc. ; 45 became owners and man- 
agers of real estate ; 760 (mostly women) were employed at 
housework at home or in families, or at sewing with machines, 
or by hand, and 78 were in homes of employment. 1 Fur 
ther, according to the 10th census of the United States 
(1880) when there were 48,928 blind in the land, but 2,560 
were found in almshouses. 2 What proportion of these 
ever attended our schools, will never be known, but it must 
he remembered that blindness is an affliction of old age. 

According to statistics printed in the report for 1879 °f 
the New York institution, "More than 1,200 persons have 
been instructed, and have gone out from the institutions 
for the blind in this state [New York], only 21 of whom 
were found to be in almshouses on the 30th of Octo- 
ber, 1879. Such facts give great force to a statement made 
by the board of state commissioners of public charities upon 
this subject. They say : " As observation shows that edu- 
cated blind persons seldom become a public charge, it would 
seem important, not only in its social bearings, but as a 
question of political economy, to bring as many of the blind 
as practicable under proper educational training." z 


" Obstacles are things to be overcome " is the motto 
given by Dr. Howe to the Perkins institution for the blind. 

When this remarkable man learned in 1837 that up in the 
mountains of New Hampshire there was a little girl not only 

'Proceedings fifth bien. conv. of the American association of instructors of the 
blind, p. 21. 

'Compendium loth census, 2, 1702. 
3 Pp. 32-33. 


blind but also deaf and dumb, he eagerly sought out the 
child and obtained the parents' consent to take her to South 
Boston to be educated. He had already formed a theory as 
to how he would reach a mind thus doubly shut in, and 
with the finding of Laura Bridgman came the wished-for 
opportunity to test this theory. 

It should be noted that Laura Bridgman saw and heard 
until she was two years old. She had been rather a delicate 
child, however, having enjoyed only about four months of 
robust health, when she sickened, her disease raging with 
great violence during five weeks, " when her eyes and ears 
were inflamed, suppurated and their contents were dis- 
charged." ' Her sufferings continued for months, and it was 
not " until four years of age that the poor child's bodily 
health seemed restored." 2 She was intelligently active, fol- 
lowing her mother about the house, seeming anxious to feel 
of everything, and thus to learn about it ; and she devel- 
oped signs for her father and her mother, and for some 

She was eight years old when brought to the Perkins 
institution. Dr. Howe writes : " There was one of two ways 
to be adopted : either to go on and build up a language of 
signs on the basis of the natural language, which she had 
already herself commenced, or to teach her the purely arbi- 
trary language in common use ; that is, to give her a sign 
for every individual thing, or to give her a knowledge of 
letters, by the combination of which she might express her 
idea of the existence, and the mode and condition of exist- 
ence, of anything. The former would have been easy, but 
very ineffectual ; the latter seemed very difficult, but, if 
accomplished, very effectual ; I determined, therefore, to try 
the latter." 3 After the child had become adjusted to the 
change of homes, Dr. Howe began teaching her by means of 
common articles with which she was familiar — spoons, forks, 

1 From reports of Dr. Howe on Laura Bridgman, appendix C, 48th annual report, 
Perkins institution for the blind, p. 160. 
'Same source and page. 
8 Same source, pp. 162-3. 


keys, etc., on which labels with their names printed in raised 
letters had been pasted. Similar detached labels were given 
her to feel. Her touch was acute enough, hence she was 
able to match labels, placing that for book on the book, etc. 
She did this easily and willingly because she received appro- 
bation for so doing ; but the idea that the printed word 
stood for the name of the object had not entered her brain. 
Then other detached labels were cut up into their component 
letters. These her memory soon enabled her to build into 
wholes or the words she had felt. Such exercises continued 
for many weeks to be only a meaningless play to the poor 
child. The success had been " about as great as teaching a 
very knowing dog," when suddenly the idea flashed upon 
her that " Here was a way by which she herself could make 
up a sign for anything that was in her own mind, and show 
it to another mind, and at once her countenance lighted up 
with a human expression ; it was no longer a dog or parrot, 
— it was an immortal spirit, eagerly seizing upon a new 
link of union with other spirits ! I could almost fix upon 
the moment when this truth dawned upon her mind, and 
spread its light to her countenance ; I saw that the great 
obstacle was overcome, and that henceforward nothing but 
patient and persevering, plain and straightforward efforts 
were to be used." ' 

Next, she was given metal type each bearing some 
embossed letter, and a frame with holes to receive them. 
With this appliance Laura readily wrote the name of any 
object she knew and by writing them fixed in mind an 
extensive vocabulary of common names. Then the less 
cumbrous manual alphabet was taught her. Here was a 
means by which she could both write and read ; she could 
spell to her teacher and read what her teacher spelled into 
her hand. 

Dr. Howe's reports teem with interesting psychologic 
material. At the end of the year he writes : " She is nine 
years of age, and yet her knowledge of language is not 

1 Same source, p. 164. 


greater than a common child of three years. There has 
been no difficulty in communicating knowledge of facts, 
positive qualities of bodies, numbers, etc. ; but the words 
expressive of tliem, which other children learn by hearing, 
as they learn to talk, must all be communicated to Laura by 
a circuitous and tedious method. In all the knowledge 
which is acquired by the perceptive faculties, she is of course 
backward ; because, previous to her coming here, her per- 
ceptive faculties were probably less exercised in one week 
than those of common children are in one hour." 1 

And so her instruction went on. Through it all the child 
showed, an eagerness to learn and to put herself in touch 
with the world that was a powerful aid to the teacher. In 
a few years, when Oliver Caswell, also deaf, dumb, and 
blind, came to the institution, Laura naturally took great 
interest in teaching him, and thereby profited much herself. 
As she approached womanhood her education was already 
good. Laura had learned to sew, to knit, and to do fancy 
work, and so employed her time when not reading or con- 
versing with her many friends. She often visited her home 
but her true home was the institution. There she lived to 
her 6oth year and there she died, the first case of any one 
so afflicted made capable of leading an industrious and 
happy life, and as the first case, historically the most 

Popular interest in Laura Bridgman, both in this country 
and abroad, was naturally very great. The printed reports 
of her progress which were eagerly awaited were as eagerly 
absorbed. Distinguished foreigners coming to Boston 
visited her. Charles Dickens wrote in his American notes 
a sympathetic account of his impressions of her. Naturally 
enough in succeeding cases of the deaf-blind that from time 
to time came under instruction in one school or another, 
much less interest was shown. The way to give liberty to 
the imprisoned mind had been made plain. 

In the year 1887, however, something like the old interest 

1 Same source, p. 167. 


was aroused by the publication of accounts of the brilliant 
deaf, dumb, and blind child in Alabama, Helen Keller. 
This child had lost sight and hearing at 19 months as a 
result of a serious illness. Like Laura she kept actively 
interested in all that surrounded her, and like Laura she 
developed her own little language of signs. When she was 
six years old, her friends, who knew of Laura Bridgman's 
case, applied to Boston for a teacher. In the following 
year Miss Annie M. Sullivan was sent. This lady was 
able to put herself in touch with Helen in a very short time 
and in a marvelous way. In fact, she has proved herself to 
be a most remarkable teacher. Following in general the 
methods adopted in teaching Laura, Miss Sullivan began 
her work by putting Helen in possession of the manual 
alphabet. A doll was happily chosen to begin with ; and 
with the doll on the child's lap, the teacher formed in Helen's 
hand the finger letters d-o-l-l. Other familiar objects were 
similarly introduced, and strange as it may seem, that which 
had taken three months to reach in Laura's case in Helen's 
took but a few days j 1 or, in Miss Sullivan's words, "it was 
more than a week before she understood that all things were 
thus identified." 2 Her teacher writes : " Never did a child 
apply herself more joyfully to any task than did Helen to 
the acquisition of new words. In a few days she had mas- 
tered the manual alphabet and learned upwards of a hundred 
names." 3 After teaching verbs and prepositions through 
action and position Miss Sullivan made a departure. She 
began to use new words in connection with old words, let- 
ting Helen understand them if possible from the context. 
The child adopted these words " often without inquiry." In 
this way she became familiar with the use of many words 
whose meaning never had to be explained to her. 

As to the letters of the raised alphabet, Miss Sullivan 
writes : " Incredible as it may seem, she learned all the let- 

1 See 56th an. rep. Perkins inst. for the blind, p. 82. 
* Same source, p. 101. 
3 Same source, p. 101. 


ters both capital and small in one day." 1 Then came the 
primer ; then pencil writing than which there is scarcely a 
more difficult exercise for the blind to learn ; and yet Helen 
"wrote without assistance a correctly spelled and legible 
letter to one of her cousins ; and this was only a little more 
than a month after her first lesson in chirography." 2 Braille, 
or tangible point writing, became a constant delight to her. 

Words like perhaps and suppose and those indicative of 
abstract ideas she learned more through association and 
repetition than through any explanation of her teacher. 
The child had the language sense largely developed. Much 
of the time when no one was talking with her she was read- 
ing in books printed in raised letters. Dr. Bell in trying to 
account for Helen's wonderful familiarity with idiomatic 
English, considers of great significance the statement of 
Miss Sullivan that, "long before she could read them [the 
books] . . . she would amuse herself for hours each 
day in carefully passing her fingers over the words, search- 
ing for such words as she knew." 3 

In 1888, when Helen was 8 years old her teacher took her 
to South Boston where she could have the advantage of all 
the appliances and embossed books that a school for the 
blind affords. Thenceforth an account of her progress 
reads like a romance. It was no more difficult for her to 
learn a new word in German or in Greek than in English ; 
and she took great delight in picking up and using French 
or Greek phrases. And when later she came to study these 
languages, she seemed to advance without effort in the 
knowledge of them. 

The educators of the deaf, who have good reason to com- 
prehend the exceeding difficulty of teaching their pupils to 
articulate intelligibly, feel that Helen Keller's rapid mastery 
of speech is by all odds her most wonderful achievement. 
After she had been in South Boston some little time she 
heard of a Swedish girl afflicted like herself, who had learned 

1 Same source, p. 103. 

2 Same source, p. 104. 

3 Amer. annals of the deaf, April, 1892, p. 134. 


to speak, and she said, " I must learn to speak." Miss Sul- 
livan took her to Miss Sarah Fuller, principal of the Horace 
Mann school for the deaf, and though Helen's only means 
of learning the position of the vocal organs in speech was 
to put her fingers on the lips, tongue, teeth, and throat of 
the speaker, she learned in ten lessons 1 to articulate so well 
that she could carry on an intelligible and audible conver- 
sation, having communication addressed to her spelled into 
her hand by the manual alphabet. She has learned since 
that time to read from the lips and throat of a speaker by 
placing her fingers lightly on them ; so that any one sitting 
near her can converse with her just as though she could both 
hear and see. She spent a winter at the Wright-Huma- 
son private school for the deaf, where she improved her 

When Helen was sixteen years old she entered the Cam- 
bridge school for girls, Miss Sullivan accompanying her. 
There, under the guidance of Mr. Arthur Gilman, the 
director of the school, she took the course preparatory to 
entering Radcliffe college. At the end of one year she took 
the regular required examinations in the history of Greece 
and Rome, in English, in Latin, in elementary French, in 
elementary German, and in advanced German. As the 
questions and other matter were read into her hand by Mr. 
Gilman himself, Helen wrote her answers and translations 
on an ordinary typewriter. Her papers were read by the 
regular examiners. She passed the tests in every subject, 
taking " honors " in English and German. Mr. Gilman 
writes : " I think that I may say that no candidate in Har- 
vard or Radcliffe college was graded higher than Helen in 
English." 2 

There are still other children afflicted like Helen who are 
doing splendid work, but, "taking this child all in all," says 
Dr. Job Williams, principal of the American school for the 

1 See Sarah Fuller's article How Helen Keller learned to speak, Annals of the 
deaf, Jan. 1892, p. 26. 

2 Miss Helen Adams Keller's first year of college preparatory work. American 
Annals of the Deaf, November, 1897. 


deaf at Hartford, " and making due allowance for every pos- 
sible aid that has been given her, and for all unconscious 
exaggeration due to friendly admiration, there yet remains 
so much that is marvelous as to place her beyond compari- 
son with any other child of whom we have ever heard. The 
whole history of literature reveals nothing equal to her lan- 
guage productions from one of her years, even among those 
possessed of all their faculties. She is a genius, a prodigy, 
a phenomenon." x 

The other deaf-blind children under instruction are some 
at schools for the blind, some at schools for the deaf. They 
must always have a special teacher, and use embossed books 
and adapted appliances. All are being taught on principles 
used in teaching Helen. In South Boston, where there are 
several, they attend classes with other pupils, the special 
teacher acting simply as interpreter and companion. 


The term feeble-minded is now used to embrace all classes 
and grades of the mentally defective, excepting the insane, 
who, properly speaking, are mentally sick. Idiocy was the 
term formerly used to cover the same range. Idiocy or feeble- 
mindedness may be defined as " mental deficiency depend- 
ing upon imperfect development, or disease of the nervous 
system, occurring before, at or after birth, previous to the 
evolution of the mental faculties." 2 At the time the feeble- 
minded were first taught, it was supposed that their growth 
of body and mind, which was seen to be but partial, had 
simply been stopped by malign influences, and that in many 
cases all that was needed was proper environment in order to 
start the growth again ; it was hoped that the improvable 
cases at least could be educated and trained to approach in 
capacity the normal-minded individual. 

With the end in view of so educating idiots, as they called 
them, the first attempts to train them in this country were 

1 Annals of the deaf, April, 1892, p. 159. 

8 Quoted in Fernald's Feeble-minded children, p. 2. 


made in 1848. Before then idiots who were not kept at 
home were to be found in almshouses or in insane asylums, 
where they were sadly out of place. Kind-hearted physicians 
who saw this "rubbish of humanity" cowering in terror 
before lunatics or abused by almshouse associates, agitated 
for their relief, care, and training. The movement began in 
New York and Massachusetts in the year 1846. Massachu- 
setts was more ripe for the work ; for the matter had no 
sooner been presented to the legislature than this body 
appointed a commission to report upon the number, condi- 
tion, and the best means of relieving the idiots in the com- 
monwealth. Dr. Samuel G. Howe, the director of the Per- 
kins institution for the blind, was made chairman of the 
commission. Its report made in 1848, and widely known as 
" Dr. Howe's report on idiocy," was exhaustive, and ended 
by recommending the opening of an experimental school. 
One was opened at the expense of the state and under the 
guidance of Dr. Howe himself. The results were so favor- 
able that in three years' time the state doubled its appropri- 
ation, and founded in South Boston the Massachusetts 
school for idiots, the first state school for them. The state 
of New York followed, establishing its school similarly, or 
experimentally, in 1851, and permanently in 1853. 

Between the appointment of the Massachusetts commis- 
sion and its report, a country physician, Dr. H. B. Wilbur, 
had opened a small private school for idiots at Barre, Mass., 
really the first school of its kind in America. Dr. Wilbur 
was soon called to take charge of the New York state school. 
The Pennsylvania school followed in 1852, and was estab- 
lished in Philadelphia as a private corporation in 1853 ; then 
in 1857 came the Ohio state institution at Columbus; in 
1858 the semi-public school in Lakeville, Conn. ; the Ken- 
tucky state school at Frankfort in i860; the Illinois state 
school in 1865 ; the Hillside home, a private school at Fay- 
ville, Mass., in 1870. "Thus up to 1874, twenty-six years 
after this work was begun in America, public institutions 
for the feeble-minded had been established in seven states. 


These institutions then had under training a total of 1,041 
pupils. There were also two private institutions in Massa- 
chusetts, . . . with a total of 69 inmates." T Applica- 
tions for admittance were numerous and pressing. At first 
it was the theory that only imbeciles,- the improvable idiots, 
should be taken into the institution, that the institution 
should be a school and should graduate its pupils into the 
world. Still, it was but a few years before most of the 
superintendents recognized that the pupils would always be 
children though adult in years ; and that as children they 
needed guidance and protection always ; that for obvious 
reasons girls and women of child-bearing age should not be 
discharged — for no girl is so exposed as the simple, weak- 
willed, feeble-minded girl — and finally that practically all 
cases would have to be retained within the protection of the 
institution. Physiology and pathology now teach that " men- 
tal deficiency generally, if not always, is the result of a defi- 
nite cerebral abnormality or defect, or the result of actual dis- 
ease or damage to some part of the central nervous system ;" 2 
that feeble-mindedness is practically a permanent condition, 
and that it cannot be cured. From the time this fact came 
to be realized the institutions began to change in character 
There arose two distinct departments — the training school 
and the asylum. 

The school was, is, and ought to be the fundamentally 
important department. Education is just as much a right 
of the improvable imbecile or feeble-minded child as it is of 
any child ; and what are always acknowledged to be the 
benefits of an education are no less benefits to the one than 
to the other. It is in the school that the feeble-minded 
child is to be aroused, developed and trained to lead a use- 
ful and a happy life. The aim in the education of an ordi- 
nary child is to give a liberal all-round training, fitting him 
for anything in life he may choose to take up. With our 
feeble-minded child the aim of his education, which is to 

1 Fernald, The history of the treatment of the feeble-minded, p. 8. 
2 Fernald, Feeble-minded children, p. 2. 


lead a useful life within the institution, is kept ever in mind. 
He is happiest when occupied. Hence, his education is 
principally a practical education. The difference between a 
normal person and a feeble-minded person after training is 
that the latter has no initiative, no power to resist the seduc- 
tion of stronger minds. He may be useful and even self- 
supporting, but he can become so only under guidance and 

When they come to school these children have extremely 
weak will power. In fact the feeble-minded as a class have 
been divided according to the attention, thus : 

" 1. Absolute idiocy. Complete absence and impossibility 
of attention. 

" 2. Simple idiocy. Attention feeble and difficult. 

"3. Imbecility. Instability of attention." 1 

With all these the condition of the hand indicates that of 
the brain. The "idiotic hand" is proverbial. Many imbe- 
ciles see but do not perceive ; hear but do not understand. 
They rarely make a purposive effort, but need to be directed 
in everything. When it is comprehended that though they 
love games they do not even play of their own accord, it 
will be understood how their teachers must begin at the very 
bottom rung in the ladder of education. The special senses 
of seeing, hearing, and feeling, actually have to be aroused 
and developed, first, as simple physiological functions ; sec- 
ondly, as intellectual faculties. Calisthenics in classes, 
marching to music, military drill — movements and exercises 
of all kinds — exert a most salutary and energizing influ- 
ence, and are in great use in all the schools. 

The normal child does not need to be taught each step ; 
his power of attention, his will, his desire, his originality 
enable him to fill the gaps in instruction from his own daily 
experiences. In fact he often learns more out of school 
than in. On the contrary, the feeble-minded child has to be 
taught each step, hence, his education is extremely slow. 

1 Sollier: Psychologie de l'idiot et l'imbecile, Paris, 1891. Quoted from G. E. 
Johnson, Pedagogical seminary, 3, 246. 


The simple occupations of the kindergarten fit these chil- 
dren of eight to twelve years of age as they do bright 
children of four and five. The teacher devises all manner 
of busy work for them, generally using coarse materials ; 
the stringing of spools ; beads ; buttons ; spool-knitting ; 
plain knitting ; braiding with broad leather strips, with shoe- 
strings, with straw ; and block building from the simple 
cube to the forms that are more complex. 

No instruction is in more general use and is more helpful 
to the children than that of the kindergarten. After this 
all their education continues on a very elementary plane 
beyond which it is impossible for them to go. Many learn 
reading, writing, and arithmetic. The brightest read simple 
stories with pleasure, and go as far in arithmetic as multi- 
plication. Division is beyond them. 1 Calculation in the 
abstract they cannot master. The greater part of their edu- 
cation is, therefore, of a purely practical kind. They are 
taught a good deal of fancy work, like knitting, crocheting, 
embroidery and lace-making ; but chiefly domestic work, 
sewing, washing and ironing, baking, farming, housepaint- 
ing, shoemaking, brushmaking, etc. 

Entertainments flourish at these institutions. One is got 
up on every possible occasion ; and the " men and women 
children" are always present. No discrimination as to age 
or capacity is permitted. Happiness prevails because, in 
direct contrast with what happens in the world, the simple 
are not scoffed at and driven to a corner, but are made to 
feel that they are as good as any one. 

The institution is a small community. It must have a 
given number of employees, one or more to each section or 
department. But the stronger grown up children do the 
bulk of the work : baking, laundry work, shoemaking, sew- 
ing, mending, dressmaking and tailoring. Each institution 
aims to have as many acres of land as it has children, and 
on the grounds a barn, cattle, horses and all the parapher- 
nalia of a farm. This farm is worked by the boys, their 

1 See Fernald. Feeble-minded children, p. 14. 


cows producing all the milk the institution can consume, 
and the farm hands raising all their own vegetables and 
fruit, selling what they cannot store. By utilizing the ener- 
gies of the pupils in profitable labor the average per capita 
expense may be reduced to $125 or $150 a year. Supt. 
Doren of the Columbus institution has said that if the state 
will provide him 1,000 acres of good land he will care for 
all the custodial cases in Ohio free of expense to the state. 
When an old school has moved to a new site as the Massa- 
chusetts school has recently done, the labor of the boys has 
been utilized in clearing the land and ditching it, in building 
the roads, etc. Where the grounds contain suitable clay soil, 
as at Fort Wayne, Indiana, the boys have made the bricks 
with which to build new structures as needed. But in all 
this care is taken that there is no overwork. The work of 
an average laboring man more than supports himself — it is 
generally reckoned to support three people. If the feeble- 
minded man does one-half or one-third of a man's work, and 
does it every day, his support costs only that which will pay 
for his superintendence and care. 

The lowest cases of the unimprovable idiots, whom nearly 
all the institutions have been forced to admit, are termed 
the "custodial cases," and are kept by themselves. They 
are profoundly helpless, can neither speak nor attend to 
their bodily wants, but must be cared for like babies which 
they are. However, they must be attended to — washed, 
fed, and kept as decent as may be. Attendants willing to 
do this work are not easily found. But trained feeble- 
minded girls are delighted and flattered at the privilege of 
taking care of those more helpless than themselves. And 
it has been found that they make the best attendants for 
such cases. 

So far, then, as methods of instruction go, American 
teachers have but broadened the physiological methods of 
the Frenchman, Seguin. The distinctive results of our 
schools lie in training the pupils to be helpful, especially in 
the way of labor for the institution which harbors them. 


A distinctive result of work for the feeble-minded has 
been the gathering of statistics of causes. It has been 
known that a very large percentage of cases, variously 
estimated from 50 per cent to 70 per cent, are of con- 
genital origin ; that of all classes of defectives the feeble- 
minded most surely tend to transmit their defect ; hence, 
that the feeble-minded must be sequestrated for life. It has 
been shown that there is a strange but strong correlation 
between the forms of degeneracy, i. e., the criminal, the 
inebriate, the prostitute, and the feeble-minded. Of late 
years the energies of charitable and sociologic organizations 
" Have turned towards combating the causes of degeneracy, 
thereby protecting posterity." 1 The United States census 
for 1890 gives in round numbers 95,000 feeble-minded and 
this number is undoubtedly short of the actual number. 
Still but one-twelfth or about 8,000 of those returned in 
the census are cared for in special institutions. Here is 
a terrible problem ahead for the sociologists to work out. 
Those who have most thoroughly studied the feeble-minded 
are convinced that, as prevention is cheaper than cure, so 
the gathering of all this vast army into institutions and 
especially colonies where fifty per cent of them can be taught 
to be at least partly self-supporting, and where their multi- 
plication can be cut off, is, by all odds, the most economical 
and the best policy for the states to pursue in the future. 
It should not be forgotten that for every idiot cared for we 
restore at least one productive person to the community ; 
some writers say more than one. The whole matter is 
receiving widespread and intelligent attention. A large 
number of our colleges offer courses in practical sociology, 
and the number of students taking these courses is con- 
stantly increasing. 

The work for the feeble-minded is considered by those in 
it as being still in a tentative stage. Nearly all the superin- 
tendents are physicians ; they do not agree on the different 
questions involved. They meet regularly in convention, and 

1 Powell, Care of the feeble-minded, p. 10. 


have an organ of communication, called " The Journal of 

As the methods of teaching the feeble-minded and the 
other defective classes have become understood, they have 
modified the old methods of teaching children of normal 
intelligence. Child study is now interesting teachers, and 
already has led to the sending of many feeble-minded chil- 
dren to special schools for their training. The city of 
Providence, R. I., has recently led the way in a new move- 
ment, that of teaching in special classes the dull or back- 
ward pupils of the public schools. The movement is slowly 
spreading elsewhere, and, in justice both to the dull and the 
bright children, is of inestimable value, and, as such, is a 
hopeful sign of the times. 1 


The deaf 

American annals of the deaf. Washington, D. C. 
Arnold, Thos. The education of the deaf and dumb. London, 

The languages of the senses. Margate, 1894. 

Bell, A. G. Condition of articulation teaching in American schools 

for the deaf. Boston, 1893. 
Deaf-mute instruction in relation to the public schools. Volta 

bureau, 1884. 
Education of the deaf. The little deaf child, vol. 2, no. 2, 


Growth of the oral method of instructing the deaf. Boston, 


Bell, A. M. English visible speech. Volta bureau, 1899. 

Clarke institution. Addresses at the 25th anniversary of. North- 
ampton, 1893. 

Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Art. deaf and dumb. 

•Note: A very radical experiment is being tried, particularly at the Kansas 
institution. The operation of castration has been performed on several boys, 
after which they have been found to be so improved that some were transferred 
from the custodial to the school department, some sent home. 

9 The bibliographies here printed constitute but a small part of what might be 


Fay, E. A. Index to American annals of the deaf. Vols. 31-40 

(1886-1895), and previous indexes. 

Marriages of the deaf in America. Volta bureau, 1898. 

Gallaudet, E. M. The combined system of educating the deaf. 

Volta bureau, 1891. 

The deaf and their possibilities. Chicago, 1898. 

Values in the education of the deaf. Colorado Springs, Col., 

Gillett, P. G. Some notable benefactors of the deaf. Rochester, 

N. Y., 1896. 
Gordon, J. C. The education of the deaf, being evidence of Drs. 

Gallaudet and Bell, presented to the royal commission of Great 

Britain. Volta bureau, 1892. 

Notes and observations on the education of the deaf. Volta 

bureau, 1892. 

The difference between the two systems of teaching deaf-mute 

children the English language. Volta bureau, 1898. 
Green, Francis. Vox oculis subjecta, part 1. Boston, 1897. 
Histories of American schools for the deaf. 3 vols. Volta bureau, 

Hubbard, G. G. The story of the rise of the oral method in 

America. Washington, 1898. 
Johns, Rev. B. G. The land of silence and the land of darkness. 

London, 1857. 
Kitto, John. The lost senses. New York, 1852. 
Mann, Horace. Life and works of. 3:244. Boston, 1891. 
Proceedings of American association to promote the teaching 

of speech to the deaf. 
Proceedings of conferences of principals and superintendents of 

the deaf. 
Proceedings of conventions of American instructors of the deaf. 
Reports of American institutions for the deaf. 
Seguin, E. Education of the deaf and mute, in report on educa- 
tion. Milwaukee, 1880. 

The blind 
Anagnos, M. Education of the blind. Boston, 1882. 
Armitage, T. R. Education and employment of the blind. 

London, 1! 


Cary, T. G. Memoir of Thomas Handasyd Perkins. Boston, 

Diderot. An essay on blindness. London reprints, 1895. 
Education of the blind, from " The North American Review," 

vol. 37. 
Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Art. The blind. 
Hauy, V. An essay on the education of the blind. London 

reprints, 1894. 
Howe, Julia Ward. Memoir of Dr. S. G. Howe, Boston, 1877. 
Howe, S. G. 43 annual reports of the Perkins institution. 1833- 

Jubilee celebration, Yorkshire school for the blind. London, 

Kitto, John. The lost senses. New York, 1852. 
Mell, A. Encyclopadisches Handbuch des Blinden-wesens. Wien 

und Leipzig, 1899. 
Prescott, W. H. The blind, in " biographical and critical essays." 

Boston, 1846. 
Report of the conference of the blind and their friends. Royal 

normal college, July, 1890. 
Reports of the biennial conventions of American instructors of 

the blind. 

Reports of American institutions for the instruction of the 

Robinson, E. B. F. The true sphere of the blind. Toronto, 

Rutherford, John. William Moon and his work for the blind. 
London, 1898. 

Sizeranne, M. de la. Les Aveugles par un Aveugle. Paris, 1891. 

Sturgis, Dinah. The kindergarten for the blind. New England 
magazine, December, 1895, p. 433. 

The Mentor. Boston, 1891-94. 

Wickersham, J. P. History of education in Pennsylvania. Lan- 
caster, Pa., 1886. 

The deaf -blind 

Anagnos, M. Helen Keller; a second Laura Bridgman. Boston, 

Reports of the Perkins institution. 1887-98. 


Chamberlain, J. E. Helen Keller, as she really is. Annals of the 

deaf, June, 1899, pp. 286-301. 
Chappell, Jennie. Always happy, or the story of Helen Keller. 


Fuller, Sarah. How Helen Keller learned to speak. Annals of 
the deaf, Jan. 1892, p. 23. 

Dickens, C. An account of the Institution for the blind at Boston. 
'American Notes," vol. 1. London, 1842. 

Gilman, A. Miss Helen Adams Keller's first year of college pre- 
paratory work. Volta bureau, 1897. 

Hall, G. S. Laura Bridgman, from "Aspects of German culture." 
Boston, 1891. 

Howe, S. G. Education of Laura Bridgman; extracts from reports 
of. Boston, 1890. 

Lamson, Mary S. Life and education of Laura Dewey Bridg- 
man. Boston, 1878. 

Sullivan, Annie M. How Helen Keller acquired language. 
Annals of the deaf, April, 1892, p. 127. 

The language of the deaf-blind. Annals of the deaf, April, 
1899, p. 218. 

The feeble-minded 

Association of medical officers of American institutions for idiotic 
and feeble-minded persons. Proceedings, 1876-98. 

Barr, M. W. Children of a day. Phila., 1896. 

. Mental defectives and the social welfare. Popular science 

monthly, April, 1899. 

Doren, G. A. Our defective classes. Columbus, O., 1897. 

Fernald, W. E. Feeble-minded children. Boston, 1897. 

. The history of the treatment of the feeble-minded. Bos- 
ton, 1893. 

Henderson, C. R. Dependent, defective and delinquent children. 
Boston, 1893. 

Howe, S. G. Report on idiocy. Boston, 1850. 

Indiana bulletin of charities and correction. Indianapolis, 1898. 

Johnson, Alexander. Concerning a form of degeneracy. Amer- 
ican journal of sociology, November, 1898. 

. The mother-state and her weaker children. Boston, 1897. 




Johnson, G. E. Contribution to the psychology and pedagogy 

of feeble-minded children. Pedagogical seminary, 3 : 246. 
Kerlin, Isaac N. Feeble-minded children. West Chester, Pa., 


. The mind unveiled. Philadelphia, 1858. 

Powell, F. M. Care of the feeble-minded. Boston, 1898. 

Psycho-Asthenics, journal of. Faribault, Minn. 

Report of 10th anniversary and annual meeting of the associa- 
tion of the New Jersey training school for feeble-minded 
children. Vineland, 1898. 

Reports of commissioner of education. Washington, D. C. 

Reports of institutions for the feeble-minded throughout the 

Seguin, E. Education of idiots and feeble-minded children from 
report on education. Milwaukee, 1880. 

. Idiocy and its treatment by the physiological method. 

New York, 1870. 

Shuttleworth, G. E. Mentally deficient children. London, 1895. 

Sollier, Paul. Psychologie de l'idiot et de l'imbecile. Paris, 1891. 

Tuke, D. Hack. Modes of providing for the insane and idiots in 
the United States and Great Britain. Medical rec, 1887. 

Warner, A. G. American charities. A study in philanthropy 
and economics. Crowell & Co., pub. 

Wilbur, W. B. Suggestions on principles and methods of ele- 
mentary instruction. Albany, 1862. 

Statistics of schools for defective classes 

Compiled from report commissioner of education 1896-77, 2:2335-60 


Volumes in library 

Value of scientific apparatus 



Expenditures -. 

Value of grounds and build 



95 879 

$13 300 



$020 224 

$6 183 538 






QO 184 

$21 3Q4 


9 39 1 
$2 461 402 

$1; 373 873 

Public day 


$42 827 

Private day 







8 177 
$i 362 791 

$4 63: 917 



4 8 



Public schools for the deaf 

From report of commissioner of education, 1896-97, 2 : 2346-9 





Colorado . 


D. C 

D. C. Kendall school. 



















New Jersey. 

New Mexico 

New York 

New York 

New York 

New York 

New York 

New York 

New York 

North Carolina 
North Carolina 
North Dakota. . 



Pennsylvania . . 
Pennsylvania . . 
Pennsylvania . . 
Pennsylvania . . 
Rhode Island. . 
South Carolina. 
South Dakota. . 






Washington . . . 
West Virginia. . 


No. of 


Little Rock 


Colorado Springs. .... 




St. Augustine 

Cavesprings ... 



Council Bluffs 



Baton Rouge 












Santa Fe 




904 Lexington ave., New 


Washington Heights. . . 


Rome . 



Devil's Lake 



Edgewood Park 

Bala, Philadelphia 

Mt. Airy, Philadelphia... 


Providence . . 

Cedar Springs 

Sioux Falls 



Austin, colored d. and b. . 












































of lands and 


$125 OOO 
IOO 000 
450 OOO 
220 894 
250 000 
700 000 

25 000 
80 OOO 

455 <J°o 
526 000 
500 000 
250 000 
200 000 
300 000 
30 000 
35 °oo 
255 000 

135 149 
426 255 
271 625 

75 000 
310 000 

30 000 
120 000 
100 000 
6 000 
154 560 
509 236 

89 586 

360 000 

506 000 

130 000 

125 000 

160 000 

30 000 

22 500 

650 000 

25 000 

257 137 

48 431 

1 000 000 

160 000 
60 000 
55 000 
60 000 

150 000 

225 000 
37 500 

200 000 
80 000 

100 000 
85 000 

118 000 

tures for 

$30 222 

43 500 

59 6 50 

25 266 

43 100 

22 000 
97 000 

62 059 
61 700 
46 500 
48 061 
16 500 
14 000 

1 10 645 

26 588 
43 756 

63 558 

45 455 
16 430 
92 000 
1 6 250 
55 240 
40 000 

4 000 
30 720 
92 994 
22 936 

48 753 
112 216 

46 647 
39 612 
35 000 
10 000 

84 000 
12 000 
50 134 
12 869 

135 940 
16 237 

19 000 
1 17 288 

12 250 
30 800 

43 114 
8 500 

20 000 
1 21 000 

29 000 

1 25 737 

39 800 

1 Includes the blind. 

8i 7 ] 



Public day schools for the deaf 

From report of the commissioner of education, 1896-97, 2 : 2350. 



No. of 


of land and 


tures for 


Chicago (six schools) .... 













$98 000 
20 OOO 

12 OOO 


$1 000 

21 569 





3 600 





2 500 


1 019 

6 291 
1 000 


La Crosse 



Private schools for the deaf 

From report of the commissioner of education, 1896-97, 2:2351. 


Connecticut . . 






New Mexico. . 
New York. . . . 
New York. .. . 


Wisconsin. . . . 

North Tamescal 


Chicago (three schools) 





West Medford 

North Detroit 

St. Louis (two schools) . 


Santa Fe 


New York 


St. Francis 

No. of 







[8 1 8 

Schools for the blind 

From report of commissioner of education, 1896-97, 2 : 2340-I. 















Maryland colored b. and d. 


Michigan , 






New York 


North Carolina. ... 





South Carolina 



Texas colored b. and d. . . . 



West Virginia 




Little Rock 


Colorado Springs , 
St. Augustine. . . . 

Macon , 


Indianapolis. ,,..., 


Kansas City 


Baton Rouge 



South Boston 




St. Louis 


Nebraska City. . . 


New York 






Cedar Spring 































55 000 

450 000 
220 894 

20 000 
125 000 
225 000 
548 870 
300 000 
100 000 
100 000 

40 000 
350 000 

35 000 
165 484 

50 000 

60 000 
150 000 

45 000 
375 000 

384 957 

150 000 

550 000 

17 000 

157 306 

260 000 

55 000 

100 000 

75 000 

37 000 

80 000 

100 000 

85 000 

200 000 

$15 000 

57 616 

17 944 

18 000 
52 000 
26 130 
32 847 
20 570 

24 522 

9 577 

25 992 
8 000 

30 000 

25 098 


3 600 

29 100 
1 800 

20 103 

41 500 
76 001 

30 000 

42 936 

7 150 
15 226 

17 000 

18 000 
39 350 

8 200 
15 000 

n 260 
23 000 

1 State grant. 

8i 9 ] 



Public institutions for the feeble-minded 

From Powell : Proceedings of the 24th national conference of charities cor- 
rection, 1897, p. 290 












New York : 




Randall's Island 
New Jersey : 




Pennsylvania : 




Eldridge. .. 
Fort Wayne 
Glenwood . 
Winfield ... 
Frankfort . 
Waltham .. . 


Faribault . . 
Beatrice . . . 

Syracuse ... 
Newark . . . 

New York . 

Vineland .. . 
Vineland .. . 
Columbus . 









w a 



3 V 


,= T3 

U T! 






















33 1 


















































$400 000 

300 500 

375 °°° 

350 000 

60 620 

80 000 

250 000 

75 000 

359 720 

200 000 

421 330 
179 on 
271 733 

100 000 

'698 582 

560 639 

500 000 

20 000 

W 4 - 

$75 °°° 

101 139 
79 560 

102 080 
25 000 
63 377 

35 000 
98 767 

36 500 

90 112 

46 600 
20 000 
143 231 

163 137 

1 From report of the commissioner of education, 1896-07, 2 : 2353-4. 

Private schools for the feeble-minded 

From report of the commissioner of education, 1896-97, 2 : 2355. 


Connecticut . . 





New Jersey. . . 
New Jersey. . . 
New Jersey. . . 

Lakeville ,. . , 


Ellicott City 
Amherst . . . 


Fayville. . . . 
Kalamazoo . 
Cranbury. . . 

No. of 






Allen, Edward A. 
Date Due 

Allen, Edward 


'""ion of defectives. 






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